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It is important to dispose of hazardous waste in the most responsible manner. If not, chances are that the environment will be damaged and people can get hurt.

Hazardous waste poses a problem because it can be extremely toxic to living organisms in the environment, including humans. Therefore, when it is not properly disposed of, it can contaminate the soil and surrounding air. 

Not only will this lead to the immediate death of plants, animals, and insects, but it can also pose a long-term health risk to people who live in the area.

What Is Considered Hazardous Waste?

It’s important to pay attention to the type of waste you dump, as well as its packaging. There are some waste items that need special containers to be properly disposed of, and not all containers are suitable for this purpose.

Under the law, hazardous waste can be classified as anything that contains a combination of any of the following characteristics set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • Ignitability; 
  • Corrosivity;
  • Reactivity;
  • Toxicity;

For all intents and purposes, a chemical can be considered toxic when it produces harmful or poisonous effects, or it can do bodily harm to living organisms. Some examples of hazardous waste include:

  • Motor oil
  • Automobile batteries
  • Paints and solvents
  • Household cleaners
  • Drain openers
  • Pesticides
  • Compressed gas tanks (such as propane and oxygen)
  • Aerosol containers
  • Propane cylinders
  • Disinfectants
  • Fluorescent bulbs/tubes
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Mercury switches/thermometers
  • Needles and syringes
  • Oil filters
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paints and coatings
  • Pool chemicals
  • Gasoline
  • Perfume and aftershave

Be a Wise Consumer and Read Labels to Minimize Household Hazardous Waste

Certain products that are commonly found in homes, such as paints, cleaning products, and pesticides, contain chemicals that can be harmful to humans if they come into contact with them. This is why it’s important to read the labels on certain products to see if they contain chemicals that are considered hazardous.

If you use a product that is known to contain hazardous materials and you dispose of it in the trash, there’s a possibility that these materials can seep into the soil, air, and water. With that in mind, it’s always a smart idea to use products that are less toxic, and that contain only a few ingredients.

Fortunately, it’s easy to identify the different types of hazardous wastes and avoid the temptation of disposing of them in the trash, yard, or in the trash. Remember to use only bins, cans, and bags that are specially designated for hazardous waste. 

Lastly, one of the best ways to minimize the amount of hazardous waste you generate at home is to buy products that are packaged with less plastic and fewer types of chemical solvents. For example, biodegradable detergents such as vinegar and baking soda, or soaps that contain only a few ingredients are less harmful to the environment.

The Bottom Line: Why It’s Better to Let Professionals Handle Your Hazardous Waste Disposal

Most hazardous waste should not be disposed of in landfills, because it can contaminate water and soil. Some chemicals can even leech into the ground and contaminate groundwater.

If you’re not sure how to dispose of hazardous waste, call a professional. Your local waste management company or hauling service will be able to help you get rid of these items in an environmentally responsible manner.

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